Wáng Líng appellation Yànyún was a Tàiyuán Qí man. His father’s younger brother [Wáng] Yǔn was a Hàn Excellency over the Masses, and executed Dǒng Zhuó. [Dǒng] Zhuó’s officers Lǐ Jué, Guō Sì and others for [Dǒng] Zhuó took revenge, entered Cháng’ān, killed [Wáng] Yǔn, and completely harmed his family. Líng and his elder brother [Wáng] Chén, at the time in years were both young, went over the city walls to escape, and fled into exile back to their hometown. Líng was nominated as a Filial and Incorrupt candidate, became Fāgān Chief, (1) and soon was promoted to Zhōngshān Administrator, wherever he was he achieved governance, and Tàizǔ recruited him to the Chancellor’s officials and associates.
- (1) Wèilüè states: Líng became a Chief, encountered a matter, and was shaved and punished with five years [penal labor], sent on the roads to sweep and clean. At the time Tàizǔ‘s carriage passed, he asked who it was, and those around him explained the situation in answer. Tàizǔ said: “This is [Wáng Yǔn] Zǐshī’s elder brother’s son, his involvement is also public and that is all.” Therefore the manager selected him as Valiant Cavalry [General’s] Registrar.
Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] ascended the throne , and appointed him Cavalier Regular Attendant, sent him out as Yǎn Province Inspector, and he with Zhāng Liáo and others reached Guǎnglíng to suppress Sūn Quán. They reached the Jiāng, in the night was great wind, and Wú General Lǚ Fàn and others’ boats floated to the north bank. Líng with the various officers opposed and struck, capturing and beheading the caitiffs, seizing their boats, had achievement, and was given fief as Yíchéng precinct Marquis, added Establishing Martial General, and transferred to Qīng Province.
At the time from since the sea side had been in tragic chaos afterward, the law was not yet orderly. Líng announced government and enacted teaching, rewarding the good and punishing the bad, deeply obtained law and order, and the common people praised him, unable to contain their mouths. Later he followed Cáo Xiū on campaign against Wú, with the bandits met at Jiāshí, [Cáo] Xiū’s army lost advantage, Líng fiercely battled to break the encirclement, and [Cáo] Xiū was able to escape. Afterward he was moved to Yáng and Yù Province Inspector, and always obtained the army’s and people’s pleased hearts. When he first reached Yù Province, he made manifest the descendants of previous worthies, sought after not yet prominent scholars, and always spread teachings, his intentions and righteousness deeply good. Previously, Líng with Sīmǎ Lǎng and Jiǎ Kuí were friendly, and when he oversaw Yǎn and Yù Provinces, he continued their reputations and legacies.
At Zhèngshǐ’s beginning , he became General Campaigning East, with Acting Staff as Regional Commander over Yáng Province’s various Military Affairs. Second Year , Wú Chief General Quán Cóng with an army of several tens of thousands plundered Quèpí, Líng led the various armies to oppose and suppress, with the bandits contested the dykes, fiercely battling for continuous days, and the bandits retreated and fled. He was advanced in fief to Marquis of Nánxiāng, with fief of 1350 households, and promoted to General of Chariots and Cavalry, with Ceremony equal to the Three Excellencies.
At the time, Líng’s sister’s son Línghú Yú for his talent and ability became Yǎn Province Inspector, garrisoning Píng’ā. Maternal uncle and sister’s son together managed troops, concentrating Huáinán’s power. Líng also was promoted to Excellency of Works. When Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng executed Cáo Shuǎng, he advanced Líng to Excellency Commandant, with Acting Staff and Battle-ax. Líng and Yú secretly joined plans, saying that the King of Qí [Cáo Fāng] could not be entrusted with the Heavenly Throne, the King of Chǔ [Cáo] Biāo was grown and talented, and they wished to invite and establish [Cáo] Biāo with capital at Xǔchāng.
Jiāpíng Inaugural Year  Ninth Moon, Yú sent his officer Zhāng Shì to Báimǎ, to with [Cáo] Biāo together ask and make dealings. Líng also sent Resident Láo Jīng to visit Luòyáng, to tell his son [Wáng] Guǎng. [Wáng] Guǎng said: “Deposing and enthroning is a Great Affair, avoiding disaster must be first.” (1) That Eleventh Moon, Yú again sent [Zhāng] Shì to visit [Cáo] Biāo, he had not returned, when it happened that Yú fell ill and died. (2)
- (1) Hàn Jìn Chūnqiū states: Líng and Yú plotted, believing the Emperor [Cáo Fāng] was young and controlled by powerful ministers, and could not be the ruler, and the King of Chǔ [Cáo] Biāo was grown and talented, and wished to invite and enthrone him, to flourish the Cáo clan. Líng sent someone to inform [Wáng] Guǎng, and [Wáng] Guǎng said: “In raising Great Affairs, comply with as the foundation the people’s feelings. Now Cáo Shuǎng by his arrogance and extravagance lost the people, Hé [Yàn] Píngshū was empty without governance, Dīng [Mì], Bì [Guǐ], Huán [Fàn], Dèng [Yáng] though together had prestige, all concentrated power in the world. Moreover they changed easily the Court’s regulations, government orders frequently were revised, though what they maintained was lofty yet matters were not below received, the people are accustomed to the old, and of everyone none followed. Therefore although their power overturned the Four Seas, their reputation shook the world Under Heaven, on the same day they were beheaded and killed, famed scholars were reduced by half, but the common people were calmed, and none mourned; losing the people was the cause. Now [Sīmǎ] Yì’s feelings though difficult to judge, his matters cannot yet be opposed, and he selects out and employs the worthy and able, spreading cultivation to bolster himself, repairing the previous Court’s government orders, helping what the hearts of the masses desire. [Cáo] Shuǎng’s reasons for being wrong, were that of others none were not forced to change, morning to night things were not resolved, and sympathizing with the people must be first. [The Sīmǎ] Fathers and sons and brothers, together holding the troops and critical things, are not yet easy to change and remove.” Líng did not listen.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes that words of this sort, all previous histories did not record, and they seem to have come from Xí [Zuòchǐ]. Moreover the style of speech and method of form do not resemble those of the past, and so one suspects it all was by [Xí] Zuòchǐ himself fabricated.
- [translator’s note: this would explain why Huán Fàn is listed here despite not being a close associate of Cáo Shuǎng]
- (2) Wèishū states: [Línghú] Yú appellation Gōngzhì, originally named Jùn. During Huángchū [220-226], he became Héróng Protector of the Army. Wūhuán Colonel Tián Yù suppressed the Hú and had achievement, but had a small violation of regulation, and Yú used the law to bind him. The Emperor was furious, arrested and shackled Yú, dismissing him from office and punishing his crime, Imperial Order said: “How is Jùn this stupid [yú]!” Therefore he was named this [changed from Jùn to Yú]. During Zhèngshǐ [240-249], he became Cáo Shuǎng’s Chief Clerk, later sent out as Yǎn Province Inspector.
- Wèilüè states: Yú heard the King of Chǔ [Cáo] Biāo had wisdom and valor. Previously Dōng prefecture had false words saying “Báimǎ [‘white horse’] river produced a magic horse, in the night it passed by the government offices with livestock and cried out, the crowds of horses all answered, the next day observing its footprints, they were as large as a hú [~20L vessel], went on for several lǐ, returning to enter the river.” There was also a rumor: “The white horse was always restrained to the southwest [but now] gallops, and who rides it is the Zhūhǔ [‘vermillion tiger’] rider.” The King of Chǔ [Cáo] Biāo’s childhood appellation was Zhūhǔ, and therefore Yú with Wáng Líng secretly plotted to enthrone the King of Chǔ. Therefore he first sent messenger to communicate his intentions with the King, saying: “we your gentleman apologize to you King, the matters of the realm Under Heaven cannot be know, may you King care for yourself!” [Cáo] Biāo also secretly knew their intentions, and answered: “Apologies to you gentlemen, I know your generous intentions.”
Second Year , Yínghuò [Mars] defended the Nándǒu [south dipper constellation], and Líng said: “In the dǒu are stars, and there will be a sudden nobility.” (3)
- (3) Wèilüè states: Líng heard that Dōngpíng commoner Hào Xiáng knew stars, and called and asked [Hào] Xiáng. [Hào] Xiáng suspected Líng was threatening, and wished to please his thoughts, and did not say that Wú would have a death and mourning, but said it was Huáinán and Chǔ dividing, and now Wú and Chǔ had the same divination, and there would be a ruler flourish. Therefore Líng’s plans were then settled.
Third Year  Spring, Wú bandits blocked the Tú river. Líng wished to because of this set out, greatly organized the various armies, and memorialized request to suppress the bandits; Imperial Order in answer would not agree. Líng’s secret plot was growing extreme, and he sent General Yáng Hóng to announce the deposing and enthroning matter to Yǎn Province Inspector Huáng Huà. [Huáng] Huà and [Yáng] Hóng joined names in reporting to Grand Tutor Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng. [Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng commanded the Central Army to ride the rivers to suppress Líng, first sending down pardon for Líng’s crime, and also sent Secretariat [Wáng] Guǎng east as envoy with letter to inform Líng, that the main army would soon reach Bǎichǐ to pressure Líng. Líng himself knew his power was exhausted, and therefore rode boat alone out to welcome [Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng, sending his official Wáng Yù to apologize for his crime, and send his Seal and Ribbon and Staff and Battle-Ax. The army reached Qiūtóu, Líng with [dirtied] face and bound was beside the river. [Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng carried Imperial Order to send the Registrar to release the bonds and return clothes, met Líng, comforted him, returned the Seal and Ribbon and Staff and Battle-Ax, sending infantry and cavalry of 600 men to escort him back to the capital. Líng reached Xiàng, drank a drug and died. (4) [Sīmǎ Yì] Xuān-wáng then reached Shòuchūn. Zhāng Shì and the rest all gave themselves up, and therefore completely managed the matter. [Cáo] Biāo was ordered to suicide, and those connected were all clan exterminated to the third degree. (5)
- (4) Wèilüè records Líng with the Grand Tutor’s letter: “Suddenly hearing the divine army secretly set out, already at Bǎichǐ, although I know my life is exhausted, I am slow to meet with you, my body and head are to be separate, but I do not believe it a regret. From beginning to end sending envoys, there are letters not yet with return reply, and planning to go west in expectation, there is nothing as example. yesterday after I sent letter, I then rode boat to come welcome and lodge at Qiūtóu, but setting out to Pǔkǒu, I was given announcement of pardon letter, and also obtained twenty three days or more of accumulated papers and instructions, and hearing orders I am shocked, my five internal organs lost control, and do not know on what land I can myself reside. I long received the Court’s grace, successively serving without result, commanding weapons and horses, directing Qí and the eastern regions, but had matters of wrong and deposing, my central heart violated righteousness, my crimes are 300, my wives and children together with me suffer, without any prayer. I do not plan for the sagely grace of Heaven turning or Earth conveying, and if unexpectedly immersed to see end, it would be to again see the Sun and Moon. My deceased sister’s son Línghú Yú took on words of the confused petty masses, I at the time scolded and restrained, but could not but follow his speech. This Men already know, what the Divine Enlightenment reflects on, this was not a matter to be hidden, and in the end was leaked, and I know this is a beheading and exterminating penalty. Please spare my father and mother, and spare my children.”
- It also repeated: “My body trapped in punishment and guilt, and do not dare seek pardon and forgiveness. Now I send my official to convey my Seal and Ribbon, and shortly afterward, I will like the Imperial Order letter bind myself to return to submission. Although you wish to privately act for me, the government law is decisive.” When he arrived, it was like in the letter. The Grand Tutor sent someone to release his bonds.
- Líng then was pardoned, and moreover relied on their old friendship, and no longer suspected himself, and directly rode small boat to personally visit the Grand Tutor. The Grand Tutor sent someone to oppose and stop him, stationing the boat in the middle of the Huái, and they were away from each other by over ten zhàng [~2.4 m]. Líng knew he was viewed as an outsider, and therefore from afar said to the Grand Tutor: “You directly wrote letter to summon me, would I dare not arrive? Yet you then lead army to come!” The Grand Tutor said: “I believed you would not agree to hurry, and that was the reason I wrote letter.” Líng said: “You betrayed me!” The Grand Tutor said: “I would rather betray you than betray the state.” Therefore he sent someone to escort him west. Líng himself knew his crime was heavy, and tested by requesting coffin nails, to observe the Grand Tutor’s intentions. The Grand Tutor gave them. Líng traveled and reached Xiàng, and in the night called his officials and associates to with him suicide, saying: “Going on for eighty years, only for body and name to together be destroyed!” Then he killed himself.
- Gān Bǎo’s Jìnjì states: Líng arrived at Xiàng, saw Jiǎ Kuí’s shrine at the riverside, and Líng called out: “Jiǎ [Kuí] Liángdào, I Wáng Líng am firmly loyal to Wèi’s State Altars, if you have a spirit, know this.” That year Eighth Moon, the Grand Tutor had illness, dreamed of Ling and Kuí with pestilence, deeply hated it, and therefore died.
- (5) Wèilüè records: Shānyáng’s Shàn Gù appellation Gōngxià, as a man had had unique ability. During Zhèngshǐ [240-249], Yǎn Province Inspector Línghú Yú with [Shàn] Gù’s father [Shàn] Bólóng was friendly, recruited [Shàn] Gù, wishing to appoint him Aide-de-Camp. [Shàn] Gù was not happy to be a provincial official, and declined claiming illness. [Línghú] Yú’s courtesy and intentions were generous, but [Shàn] Gù did not wish to answer. [Shàn] Gù’s mother lady Xiàhóu said to [Shàn] Gù: “This Inspector with your father were for a long time friendly, and therefore summons you without end, you also therefore should serve and advance, and yourself can go to him and that is all.” [Shàn] Gù could not help it, and therefore went, and with Internal Manager Attending Official Yáng Kāng both were [Línghú] Yú’s trusted aides. Later [Línghú] Yú with Wáng Líng communicated and plotted, and [Yáng] Kāng and [Shàn] Gù both knew their plans. It happened that [Línghú] Yú became ill, [Yáng] Kāng answered the Excellency over the Masses’s summon to visit Luòyáng, and [Shàn] Gù also due to illness left office. [Yáng] Kāng at the capital revealed their matters, the Grand Tutor therefore went east to capture Wáng Líng, reached Shòuchūn, and [Shàn] Gù met the Grand Tutor. The Grand Tutor asked him: “Do you know the reason I came.” [Shàn] Gù replied: “I do not know.” The Grand Tutor said: “Setting aside recent affairs, let me ask you, did Línghú [Yú] rebel?” [Shàn] Gù again said: “No.” But Yáng Kāng reported, and in matter after matter was with [Shàn] Gù connected. Therefore they arrested and bound [Shàn] Gù and his family and dependents, all sent to the Minister of Justice. Interrogated on the facts ten times, [Shàn] Gù said: “There is none.” The Grand Tutor sent Yáng Kāng, to face [Shàn] Gù and investigate. [Shàn] Gù’s words were exhausted, and therefore he abused [Yáng] Kāng saying: “You old slave betrayed the Inspector, and also exterminated my clan, but you think you will live?” The words were settled, the matter sent up, and waited for reply. The Minister of Justice due to old friendship in all cases listened to and agreed to his requests to with his mother and wife and children meet each other. [Shàn] Gù met his mother, did not look up, and his mother knew he was ashamed, and by his appellation said to him: “Gōngxià, you originally yourself did not wish to answer the province and prefecture, I forced you and that is all. You as a man and official, were because of me and that is all. In this downfall of our family, I have no regrets. You originally intended to with me speak.” [Shàn] Gù to the end did not look up, and also did not speak, even to his death. Previously, Yáng Kāng because he had reported these matters, hoped to obtain fief and rank, but later because his words on the participation were wrong, he also was to together be beheaded. Facing execution, both went out from prison, and [Shàn] Gù again abused [Yáng] Kāng: “Old slave, your death is your own doing and that is all. If those you caused to die have awareness, with what face will you go below the ground?”
The Court discussed all believing that by the principles of the Chūnqiū, Qí Cuīzhù and Zhèng Guīshēng both were punished after death, their bodies exposed and their coffins destroyed, and this was recorded as a policy. Líng’s and Yú’s punishments should be like the old standards. Therefore they dug up Líng’s and Yú’s mounds, cut open their coffins, and exposed their corpses in the nearest markets for three days, burned their Seals and Ribbons and Court Dress, and directly with dirt buried them (without coffins). (6) [Yáng] Hóng and [Huáng] Huà were advanced in noble rank to village Marquis. [Wáng] Guǎng had ambition and esteemed scholarship and conduct, at the time he died he was over forty. (7)
- (6) Gān Bǎo’s Jìnjì states: Yǎn Province warefare official Dōngpíng’s Mǎ Lóng, was entrusted with [Línghú] Yú’s family and guests, used his personal wealth to re-coffin and rebury him, enacted mourning for three years, and planted tomb trees. The whole province’s scholars were ashamed of this.
- (7) Wèishì Chūnqiū states: [Wáng] Guǎng appellation Gōngyuān. HIs younger brothers Fēixiāo and Jīnhǔ both had talent and marital ability surpassing others. The Grand Tutor once casually asked Jiǎng Jì. [Jiǎng] Jì said: “Líng’s civil and martial ability are both prepared, and at present none can match. [Wáng] Guǎng and the rest have ambition and strength, and are superior to their father and that is all.” After leaving he regretted this, and told those close to him: “I by these words, destroyed their family and clan.”
- Wèimòzhuàn states: Líng’s youngest son appellation Míngshān, was the most well known, was good with calligraphy, had many skills, people who obtaining his writing, all used it as their standards. He fled to Tàiyuán, the pursuing army reached him, at the time there were birds gathered on a mulberry tree, and he bent branches to hang high, they raised bows and shot at him and he then fell, and the pursuers therefore stopped and no longer advanced [thinking he had died]. [Wáng] Mīngshān took refuge with his relatives by marriage for food, his relatives by marriage reported to the officials, and therefore they seized him.